Link building is best if it’s planned well, and, although not an exact science, this guide endeavours to take you through how to calculate how many backlinks you need to rank a website.
Let us begin with the most used question in our industry…
“How Many Backlinks Do I Need To Rank My Website?”
There’s no definite answer to this question, sorry! We wish there was!
Some websites can increase their search engine rankings with just a few backlinks. However, this practice can potentially hurt the site’s ability to draw adequate traffic because you’d be ranking with low volume search terms.
Add Backlinks Carefully…
Very generally speaking, a small business can rank on the first page of search engines for around 5 terms of average competition with around 50 backlinks.
That said, it doesn’t mean stuffing your site with numerous backlinks; you need to add them carefully to avoid attracting penalties.
Play The Long Game…
Consistency is key with building links, and it’s advisable not to set a target number of backlinks or a deadline to achieve them by.
Link Building Is An Ongoing Process…
Link building should be an ongoing process, something you work on every single month to ensure a consistent level of high-quality backlinks are being added.
But, you need to cover the basics first:
Optimise Your Website Before You Add Backlinks
A well-optimised site needs fewer backlinks than a poorly optimised one.
Poorly optimised sites tend to dilute and reduce the relevance of a high-quality backlink.
As such, the first step is to ensure your website is well-optimised for ranking before adding backlinks.
Here are a few ways to optimise your site, and you can check this article for more:
- Eliminate unnecessary outbound links
- Add internal links to the most important pages
- Ensure the most important pages as easily accessible, e.g., one or two clicks away
- Eliminate broken links
- Merge or remove pages that do not have useful content
Eye Up Your Competition
Count the number of backlinks your competitors have got for specific keywords.
Only count your rival’s pages displayed in Google’s first 10 search result pages; not the total number of backlinks the rival site has.
Pages with lots of backlinks, and those with the least number of links shouldn’t be included.
Divide the total by 8 to get a rough estimate of the number of backlinks your competitors are using.
This calculation doesn’t account for quality, but this is an estimated amount of backlinks that you should be aiming to add to rank your pages in similar positions to your competitors.
The Quality Of Backlinks
Focus on the quality of the link; not quantity.
It’s understood that one high-quality backlink is often worth hundreds of low-quality backlinks.
The links shouldn’t be few; the key is in finding the perfect balance between the number of backlinks you want to use and their quality.
How Can You Tell If A Link Is Of High Quality?
To ascertain whether you’re adding a high-quality backlink, you should be aiming to tick off AT LEAST HALF of these factors with each link you add:
- Is the link from a trusted source? Check spam score and trust flow metrics with sites like Moz and Ahrefs.
- Does the site attract significant traffic? Check traffic levels with sites like SEMrush.
- Is the link from a relevant site? Is the site within a similar niche or industry?It is not been acquired easily.
- Was the link hard to acquire? Build relationships and avoid free links on spam sites.
- Is the link not a reciprocal link? Reciprocal links violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, so use sparingly.
- Is the link naturally witin the content? Make sure your link location makes sense and benefits the reader.
- Is the link on a page with page rank? There is a lot of value placed on links on pages that are already ranking.
- Is brand anchor text being used? The occasional link with your brand name is good.
- Are Exact keyword match anchors used? Link anchor text that exactly matches your target keyword occasionally.
- Are there other authority links? It’s good to be on a page with other high authority site links.
- Is it a different site to your other links? It’s good to earn backlinks from different sites.
- Is the link on a site with da50+? The higher the Domain Authority, the higher the backline value.
Feel free to save the graphic below to use as a guide when you’re planning your link building strategy.
Just these few points should help you determine the number of backlinks your site needs, and will set you on your way to achieving a solid link building strategy.
Remember, it’s not about the number of links you add to the site but the quality, and the graphic above will help you understand what factors make a quality backlink.
Competitor analysis for specific keywords will help you ascertain how to compete for rankings amongst your peers and competition, and don’t forget to optimise your site for ranking.
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